VP Singh is Dead

November 30, 2008
By

In the midst of all the news surrounding the Mumbai blasts, one important event got sidelined. The death of  Vishwanath Pratap Singh, former prime minister of India.

Adopted by the Maharaja of Manda at the age of five, VP Singh went on to become the Chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. As CM he gave away land to the poor as part of Vinoba Bhave’s Bhoodan movement and led a ruthless campaign against bandits.

VP Singh had a checkered political career of a mere seven years on the national stage.

In 1984 Rajiv Gandhi appointed him his finance minister. During the Bofors scandal, he was about to disclose the names of middlemen which led to a fallout with the then ruling Gandhi. He was dismissed from the cabinet and resigned from the parliament.

In the 1989 elections, the BJP and the left combined against the Congress and VP Singh became Prime Minister of India.
He was there when Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s daughter Rubaiya was kidnapped, and exchanged for five of the most wanted terrorists India had managed to nab. His role lasted all of one year, before the BJP pulled the rug from under the government following the Babri masjid demolition and the ensuing events.

But these are not the reasons why he will be remembered forever.

The reason he will be hard to forget is that he was the person responsible for introducing reservation  in India by accepting the recommendations of the Mandal commission. This decision led to massive nationwide protests by students who suddenly were left with even worse education and career prospects, because a big chunk of the seats in colleges as well as government jobs was going to be reserved for the so called lower castes. The intent may have been noble, but this single action has since then grown into a much abused and misused institution that has only served to add to incompetence, mediocrity, and discontentment in India.

VP Singh was an important man. A man whose actions changed India forever.

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9 Responses to “ VP Singh is Dead ”

  1. Rambodoc on November 30, 2008 at 8:19 pm

    And, if I may so, one of the great blots on the political landscape of India. A man who dressed the worst motives in moralistic robes.

  2. […] Continue Reading […]

  3. Poonam on December 1, 2008 at 1:13 am

    yes, one man whose reservation policies I have come to loathe. Sadly, this has been breeding ground to reserve jobs on basis of region, religion and also gender other than caste.

    I noticed his death but decided not to pay attention to him.

  4. Shefaly on December 1, 2008 at 5:36 am

    AD:

    It is all too well for us to blame politicians in the 1980s and the 1990s while not casting any judgement over those in the 1960s who chose to ignore Dr Ambedkar’s warning that if reservations continued beyond 15 years after independence, they would irreparably damage India. Perhaps that is too far from our minds! People like VP Singh did nothing water and nurture a poison ivy planted many years ago for petty vote politics.

    If we wish to be fair in interpreting events, and in preventing/ eradicating ills that plague us, then we need to take into account the entire spatial and temporal context and history.

    My friends and I lost half a semester in engineering due to Mandal Commission protests but just as something is a statistic to those far away, it wasn’t the case here. Some of my best friends in college and since then are OBC women. Most of them had the high ranks and the choice to reject the reservation seats and they did. But come Mandal Commission, and some people from the so-called upper classes chose to throw abuse and blame at the same girls. If this is upper class behaviour, I would rather be a sweeper in my next birth! Needless to say most left India immediately after, never to return. Their enviably stellar career trajectories, sans the burden of the accident of birth, over which they had no control, are a testimony to what we lose by tarring all with the same brush… I am proud to have known them and to be humble in the knowledge that their life always has been harder than I can ever imagine.

  5. prerna on December 1, 2008 at 9:42 am

    I second Rambodoc’s views. Infact I would like to use harsher language but one should not use bad language for a dead man so I will keep quiet.

  6. amreekandesi on December 1, 2008 at 8:52 pm

    Doc – He was, but one of the so many blots that we have had. Now that he is dead, i wouldnt say more, like Prerna said.

    Shefaly – You raised several important points in your comment. Of course, not all blame for the reservation related issues can be put on just one person. There were many events leading to how things eventually shaped up. I also believe that reservation by itself was not evil, but how it was used by Indian politicans and people (case in point the recent drama by Gujjars) that led to a lot of ill will.

    BTW, noticed the phrase ‘burden of the accident of birth’. Interesting expression!

  7. shankara on December 5, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    GOOD THE B**T**D DIED !ONE SECULARIST DEAD EQUALS 100 DEAD ISLAMIC TERRORISTS!
    MAY THE SECULARIST ENJOY WITH 6 VIRGINS IN HEAVEN!

  8. amit on December 6, 2008 at 2:32 am

    I look upon him as a man who widened the already existing chasm between the various sections of our society. Any toddler would have seen the aftereffects of the decision he was making but somehow he chose to ignore them.
    I wish politicians like him and many more would have never existed. Atleast we would have lived peacefully.

  9. nazia@pakistani girls on June 6, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    It is all too well for us to blame politicians in the 1980s and the 1990s while not casting any judgement over those in the 1960s who chose to ignore Dr Ambedkar’s warning that if reservations continued beyond 15 years after independence, they would irreparably damage India. Perhaps that is too far from our minds! People like VP Singh did nothing water and nurture a poison ivy planted many years ago for petty vote politics

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